The bad news is that the government of China is sterilizing, murdering, and harvesting organs from religious and ethnic minorities with impunity. The good news is that closer to home (meaning, in my case, the United States, in case that's not obvious), Donald Trump is facing imminent impeachment proceedings after a whistleblower report revealed, among other things, that he cheated on Putin with the president of Ukraine. I won't celebrate just yet, though. I can't predict with confidence that he'll face any actual consequences, because the last four years have demonstrated that he's exempt from the standards of behavior that apply to actual humans. Case in point: several Republican senators have refused to even read the report. Admittedly, at nine pages including the appendix, it weighs in substantially longer than a tweet, but these are the sacrifices we should reasonably be expecting them to make for their country if they actually cared about it.
Only two U.S. presidents have ever been impeached (which, contrary to popular misconception, doesn't mean they were booted out of office, but just that the proceedings that could potentially lead to them being booted out of office took place). The last was Bill Clinton. I was alive at the time, but too young to care who he was, let alone notice when he came under national scrutiny for fooling around with an intern and lying about it under oath. My parents were disgusted at him for dragging this country through the mud and not having the decency to resign, but I don't think even they could fault him for wanting literally any woman who isn't Hillary Clinton. But Trump's wandering this time around is just baffling. Why would you want this
when you could have this?
Richard Nixon never faced impeachment proceedings after Watergate because he did have the decency to resign. A shrewd political move, in hindsight, because now he's almost exclusively remembered for that one scandal instead of his War on Drugs that's ruined the lives of millions of good (and disproportionately non-white) people. I obviously wasn't alive then but I've heard that this was the moment when American faith in government was irreversibly shattered, giving way to the ubiquitous cynicism we find ourselves immersed in today. We expect politicians to be corrupt and dishonest, and we only muster up the energy to get upset about it if they're in the opposite party from us. I see memes sometimes claiming that Obama's only scandal was wearing a tan suit. Yeah, no, just because you ignored scandals like Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS harassing conservative groups to help him get re-elected, and his secret White House Halloween party with Johnny Depp doesn't mean they didn't happen.
What neither Nixon nor Clinton had, though, was legions of sycophantic butt-kissers desperately trying to defend everything they said or did. Neither of them would have gotten away with a tenth of what Trump has said and done. And maybe the Democrats will even lose their nerve if they decide having Pence take over as president would be even worse. So like I said, I'm not holding my breath to see if he actually gets held accountable like an actual human this time. But there is hope. And rebellions are built on hope.
I harbor no ill will toward the leaders of eastern European nations for manipulating the political processes of another nation to further their own interests. The United States has done exactly that and worse. I guess it's supposed to be okay when we do it because we're the good guys. And I harbor no ill will toward the Russian trolls who made a profitable career out of writing fake news about Hillary Clinton prior to the 2016 election. We all need money, and it's not their fault the U.S. is home to millions of gullible morons who can be exploited for profit. (In one article I read, one of them said he started out writing fake news about both Trump and Hillary, but only the Hillary stuff went viral so he focused on it exclusively.) Maybe the Nigerian scammers need to learn a thing or two from them. Americans above a certain age will forward almost any bullcrap in an email or Facebook post, so if they won't even take yours seriously, you're doing it wrong.
Just today as I was writing this post, for example, I had to see this garbage in a group called "Sustaining the Prophets and Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ" - intended to be a forum of uplifting religious content for Latter-day Saints from any country - from some poor soul living in an alternate reality where black is white, up is down, and Donald J. Trump is a great man who deserves respect. It actually legitimately scares me that people who think like this exist. I'm not talking about people who held their noses and voted for the lesser of two evils, I'm talking about this inexplicable level of delusional worship that makes me physically ill.
The admins took their sweet time doing anything about it, so I'm not at all sorry for my progressively less tactful role in the dumpster fire that erupted in the comments. I got accused of "casting the first stone" just because I expect a reasonable middle ground between "perfect" and "thoroughly unworthy and unqualified to be president of the United States". The distinction between righteous and unrighteous judgment really shouldn't be that that difficult to grasp, but it is for some people, and I'm sure my sharing this hilarious response from somebody else in the thread won't help.
In more lighthearted news, sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg pissed off a lot of people with her impassioned defense of basic science and common sense. Some of the actual "unwarranted abuse" from idiots whose worldview is threatened by actual facts centered around her being on the autism spectrum. It's unusual for a prominent girl/woman to be known for being on the autism spectrum, because women usually hide it a lot better and don't get diagnosed until later in life. But she's on the spectrum and that's played a major role in shaping her activism and it shows somewhat in the way she looks and talks. And in some people's minds, that makes her a second-class human. I enjoy being reminded periodically that people like me are still viewed as second-class humans. By all appearances, though, Greta is not the slightest bit bothered or deterred by her haters. Good for her. When I was sixteen, I was doing things so unimportant that I don't even remember what they were.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.